Coral disease across the IndoPacific

Nov 10 2015 10:00 AM - Nov 10 2015 11:00 AM

​Speaker: Prof. Greta S. Aeby

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, PO Box 1346, Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA 


Coral disease has devastated reefs in the Florida Keys and parts of the Caribbean and has now emerged as a serious problem for reefs across the Indo-Pacific. Recent research has increased our understanding of disease ecology, distribution and pathogenesis. Signs of coral disease include chronic and acute tissue loss, discolorations and growth anomalies.  Many disease etiologies remain unknown but numerous bacterial pathogens, fungus, ciliates and larval parasites have been implicated. Drivers of coral disease include local factors such as coral host abundance, land-based sources of pollution, overfishing and human usage and global factors including increased frequency of temperature anomalies, storms and bleaching events.  In Hawaii, coral disease outbreaks are starting to occur more frequently and work is underway to understand the underlying disease etiologies and environmental drivers of the problem. There is an urgent need across the globe, to improve information on the types and extent of coral diseases, document baseline levels of disease, understand disease pathogenesis, and develop tools and decision frameworks to predict and manage disease outbreaks.


Dr. Aeby received her PhD from the University of Hawaii examining the evolutionary ecology of a digenetic trematode that uses coral as an intermediate host and coral-feeding fish as the definitive host.  She completed post-doctoral training at the University of West Florida and the Environmental Protection Agency in coral bleaching and disease.  She has been conducting research, primarily on coral disease, in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific since 2002 and is now an assistant researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.  Coral diseases are now a problem for reefs across the globe and her research interests are in exploring the ecology, distribution and pathogenesis of coral diseases across regions.